Genetically modified cotton is cotton whose genetic material scientists have manipulated in order to make sure the crop is more drought resistant, grows more quickly, produces a maximized crop yield, or is resistant to certain pests or diseases. Genetically modified cotton can include any combination of the traits I listed above. The problem is, once this cotton has been manipulated and bred, the crops become very genetically the same. They may have increased resistance to some diseases and pests, but if one comes along they aren’t accustomed to, a farmer’s entire supply can be destroyed. In addition, if genetically modified plants are cross-pollinated with natural plants, there are typically mutated offspring. This is probably because there is a compatibility issue due to the manipulation of genes.
It was designed first in 1989 when American agro-engineers developed something called the Bacillus thuriniensis, or Bt, cotton seed. Basically, it is a genetically modified seed created to grow cotton that resists the bollworm. It was first introduced in the U.S. in 1996. Since then it has taken off in many countries such as India, Argentina, China, Egypt, Mexico and many more.
However, there is some backlash with genetically modified cotton. Farmers oppose it because they can’t save the seeds from one season to the next. That leaves them having to buy the seeds again every year. Furthermore, they need the right place to grow in case cross-pollination happens. If so, then the resistance the cotton was modified with decreases – so the whole point of buying them becomes null at that point.
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